ListenIn - Three pitching tips to convince your buyer's buyer

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 12 January 2024
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash.

Speak less, say more; use stories; and write a one-page pitch are three tactics that those pitching to clients can use to help make sure they close the deal, according to John Hegarty.

In a post on LinkedIn, the co-founder and creative director of The Garage Soho and the former founder of BBH London, says that convincing the person in front of you isn’t enough.

"You need to give them the means of selling your idea to other people. If they can’t bring your vision to life for their colleagues, bosses or shareholders – it’s dead," he says.

"The human brain is easily overwhelmed. Simple messages are less taxing to recount than complicated ones. An argument doesn’t get more persuasive for being longer.

"Numbers are convincing – but they are hard to remember. And they lack emotion. When did you last call up a friend to tell them about a stat you’d just found? Stories and anecdotes are better.

"Don’t think about your buyer: Think about your buyer’s buyer."

In the comments, London-based Kevin Chester, who's previously served as a planning director at Wieden + Kennedy and chief strategy officer at when he went client side was that the work no longer belonged to the agency once it was in his hands.

"The internal sell in was key, and most of the time the agency wasn’t there," he says.

"The agency won’t always be there when you cross the road. They need to give you the visual and verbal “stop look and listen” to enable you to land an idea when they’re not there. The buyers buyer is key. Even more so as teams and companies become more complex."

Andy Pemberton, the London-based content director for data visualisation agency describes a golden age of advertising where ideas might carry the day.

"I am not sure that has survived. In fact, I am not sure pitches are won in the pitch. Most times, the decision has been made before you get in the room," he says.

"Your pitch just confirms it. If you are not the favourite beforehand, no idea will turn that around, no matter the precision of its expression. I would work harder on my positioning and then get the client to sample what I do before I get in the room. Then, just before the day of the pitch I'd see if I could move the date. If the client said no, I would not bother pitching. I would know I was not the favourite and the chances of victory are zilch.

"The truth is, the pitch process does not road test ideas - most of us would barely recognise a good idea if it hit us in the face - it defends the clients decision-making. That is its purpose. It is no longer a contest of ideas, mores the pity. If you enter a pitch, you are stepping into a painfully unequal process. Good luck!"

Nicola Bhojani, the London-based head of marketing services for consulting and technology company Loop Horizon, says she  often finds pitches can be cluttered with clever words, acronyms and complicated language, designed to impress.

"Plain English is my preference - even better if you can demonstrate through visuals," she says.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus